Maybe I don't know the definition of a synthetic gem, so I
ask; Where is it written that a synthetic gem has to have a natural
Hi Steve. It is written in Richard T. Liddicoat, Jr.'s handbook of
Gem Identification, p. 85: "A synthetic gem material has the same
chemical composition, crystal structure, and consequently, the same
physical and optical properties of the natural gem it represents."
Another similar quote can be found in GIA's Diamonds and Diamond
Grading course, Lesson 18, p. 2, which would be redundant to quote
In my way of thinking "synthetic" comes from the word
synthesis which means - the act of putting together... in this case
Your way of thinking differs somewhat from Merriam- Webster's
Dictionary. Their definition as applies to this discussion is as
of, relating to, or produced by chemical or biochemical syntheses:
especially : produced artificially <synthetic
silk> (2) : of or relating to a synfuel b : devised, arranged, or
fabricated for special situations to imitate or replace usual
realities c : FACTITIOUS, BOGUS
Currently I would call any synthesized gem whether it has a
natural counterpart or not a synthetic gem.
Both Liddicoat's and M-W's definitions insist that a synthetic has a
natural counterpart. You can't argue with the actual definition.
I'll bet that anything Man can synthesize exists in Nature
anyway whether we have found it or not. Man uses and obeys the laws
of Nature for everything he does. High tech or not everything we do
is done within this framework.
With the size of the universe being what it is, there's no telling
how many things are out there, so this statement is probably quite
Maybe I am overlooking something here and this is not the
case. If so please explain it to me.
I don't know you, Steve, so I'm not certain of any gemological
training you may have had, but I sure do enjoy your posts here! The
problem with synthetics and simulants is that most are (at least
initially) designed to fool the public into thinking that they are
natural It was a recent experience of mine that an
acquaintance brought to me a faceted stone that simply swept her off
her feet. It was a lovely green rectangle-cut stone, labeled:
Tsavorite-Colored, Lab-Created Obsidian. She almost fell out of her
chair when I had to tell her that it was a very beautiful piece of
faceted glass. Of course, everybody knows that "lab-created" means
basically the same as "synthesized", so she thought she was getting
something that was created by some arcane laboratory process. Sure,
it was synthesized, or "put together...in this case by man", but
obsidian is, in fact, a natural form of glass. "Lab-created
obsidian" would be, by definition, glass. The only thing that you
have overlooked may be that, if a scientist develops a substance
that has all the same properties of a natural one, it was
synthesized. If that same scientist develops a substance that has no
parallel in nature, it's called an invention.
Respectfully, James Duncan